Leaders in the making
THE information age poses new challenges to governments all over the world. Citizens are not only demanding that public services be made available round-the-clock, but that governments must be able to address complexities of modern living with greater effectiveness and efficiency.
Indeed, we are living in a complex system where rational choice and political conservatism are being overshadowed by populism that makes predictions an increasingly futile affair.
In the age of innovation and constant change, good leaders are crucial to drive the value of public service.
To keep up with the demands of the times, Universiti Tun Abdul Razak (Unirazak) has established the Tun Abdul Razak School of Government (TARSOG) in 2008 to improve the quality of public policymaking and government.
TARSOG dean Associate Professor Datuk Mohd Ibrahim Abu Bakar said with its broad-based curriculum that was akin to a liberal arts education, TARSOG aimed to produce a new brand of public sector leaders to help Malaysia negotiate the complexities of the political, social and economic climate.
He said the modules offered were wide ranging and designed to equip future leaders with the tools to make sense of the multifaceted dimensions of policy problems.
He said the school offers three programmes — the Bachelor of Arts in Government and Public Policy, Bachelor of Arts in Economics, and Bachelor of Arts in Leadership.
“In the first two semesters, TARSOG students must take core courses in sociology, political science, economics, leadership, research methodology, statistics, Malaysian economy and policy, development economics, public administration and cross cultural management.”
He said there were other interesting courses, such as political economy of development, issues in globalisation, population and environment, innovation leadership, organisational change and management of state-owned enterprise, among others.
Ibrahim said the school believed such exposure would enable students to adopt a more holistic approach to policy-making.
“TARSOG makes it near compulsory for final-year students to take up internship programmes,” he said.
To make for a more rewarding educational experience, he said, the school had a student exchange programme with Yeungnam University in South Korea, where qualified students get to spend six months at the university every year.
Ibrahim said the interactive learning and teaching style in classrooms had produced results as students who went for internships often got good reviews from employers.
“The school also believes in a healthy mix of full-time and parttime faculty members.”
He said the school sees strength in having part-time faculty members who were from the industry, with the majority being ex-civil service officers, specifically former administrative and diplomatic officers (PTD) and diplomats, who have more than 30 years of experience working in public service.
“Despite being a young school, TARSOG has had many achievements,” he said.
Two of its students have won the prestigious Perdana fellowship award. This is a competitive award where every year, only the best final year undergraduate students are selected to work with a minister.
He said the school is also proud that for two consecutive years, two of its students have been awarded Fulbright scholarships to spend a semester at prestigious universities in the United States.
“TARSOG’s achievements are testaments to the innovative programmes that the school is offering as well as the quality of its teaching faculty.”
Besides that, he said come middle of this year, the school will be offering a Master of Public Policy.
Associate Professor Datuk Mohd Ibrahim Abu Bakar